Turnul Portii NE ridge integral is the route which follows the entire ridge that starts in Poarta Bucurei and ends on the top of Turnul Portii. The last 4 pitches belong to the route called NE face of Turnul Portii (2A, 4 pitches, UIAA V-) and this is the original route name, though it’s more a ridge than a face.
Climbers have the option to climb only NE face of Turnul Portii or take the entire ridge and add about 5 more pitches.
NE ridge integral is clearly visible from high distance and forms a natural border for Gemenele Scientific Reserve. It has 9 pitches and it’s formed in the first part by the mentioned ridge (about 5 pitches) then climbs directly Turnul Portii to the top (4 pitches). The first part requires 2/3 rappels. Descending from the top is done via another short abseil.
The technical difficulty of the route is UIAA V- and the crux is in the 6th pitch - which is the 1st pitch from NE face of Turnul Portii. The route has no fixed protection in place. I only saw 2 isolated pitons, one at a rappel station and the other one near the end of the route. Both of them were rusty and not looking very trustful.
Getting ThereFrom Bucura Lake campsite take the touristic trail to Taul Portii lake. When arrived at the lake you have:
Option 1) For Turnul Portii NE ridge integral continue along the trail until Poarta Bucurei col. The route starts right at the south end of the col. You can’t miss it.
Option 2) If you opted to climb NE face of Turnul Portii, take the trail ramification which descends to Taul Agatat. When arrived at the lake, leave the marked trail and go West until reaching the ridge line at the foot of Turnul Portii.
There is another approach variant for Option 2 which goes from Bucura L. directly to Taul Agatat, without passing by Taul Portii.
For both options, approach takes about one hour (maximum).
From Poarta Bucurei until Turnul Portii the ridge is overall descending.
Pitch 1, 2 and 3 follow the sharp ridge and can be simul-climbed. The terrain is easy and, in a few places some down climbing is required. But these sections are always short.
After these approximately 3 pitches, the ridge ends up with a vertical down section, about 20 m high. At this point a rappel must be done to reach the culoir below. The rappel station is visible and marked by an old piton (don’t used it) and the cordelettes left by other climbers. We down climbed this section also, as it appeared to be easy in the beginning but then become tricky towards the end. I would recommend to make a rappel here.
Pitch 4. From the culoir climb the first gendarme. This pitch has about 30 m. From the top rappel towards W in the second culoir.
Pitch 5. From second culoir climb a short vertical obstacle which ends in the ridge of the second gendarme. Follow then the ridge to the top and descend a few meters to a good rappel platform. This pitch has about 50 m. From here abseil down to the dwarf-like ridge below. The rappel is about 35 m length.
Here ends the first part of the route. After rappelling the second gendarme, just follow the mini-ridge. Rope is not necessary until reaching the base of NE face of Turnul Portii.
Pitch 6 (1st pitch from NE face of Turnul Portii). Start climbing directly the vertical obstacle which ends on grassy ledge. The ledge ends at the base of a vertical crack. This is the crux of the route. Climb the crack on its entire length and when it ends take left. From here, easier terrain leads to a small ledge, at the base of a low angled face. The mentioned ledge can be used to arrange a belay station. This pitch has about 35 m.
Pitch 7. From the belay continue directly up, pass over a low angled grassy ledge, then climb a section with loose rock. Belay can be arranged a few meters below a vertical dihedral. This pitch has about 50 m.
Pitch 8. Climb the short dihedral (can be avoided by taking a chimney to the left). One piton is present here. Then continue following the ridge line. This pitch has about 45 m.
Pitch 9. Continue to climb the ridge. The terrain becomes gradually less steeper. After 60 m you are on the top of Turnul Portii.
Descent. Follow the summit ridge of Turnul Portii towards SW then make a short rappel to the col which separates Judele from Turnul Portii. From this point descent towards S the grassy slopes and you’ll meet the touristic trail Saua Judele – L. Agatat.
- many slings
- some medium size nuts
- Technical Friend #3.5 and #4 (or similar sizes from other manufacturers) are useful to protect the crack in the 6th pitch (crux). One piece or two are enough.
- 2 additional medium size cams can be useful along the route (Tech Friend #2 and #2.5 or similar size)
- double ropes can be useful to avoid rope drag and rappel from the 2nd gendarme